When it comes to living more sustainably, I always say that the most sustainable items are the ones you already own! But, let’s be real, sometimes things need to be replaced. So here are 10 easy sustainable swaps to make this year!
Why are we taking a whole year to make 10 (sublimely simple) sustainable swaps? Because you should only replace them and buy new when you run out of the other item.
We’re soon to be in need of more toilet paper, but we’re quite set on trash bags for a while. Maybe you’re good on TP but you’re about to run out of plastic wrap!
And while I don’t mind (honestly, I encourage you to) you just shooting me an email or DM on Instagram to ask for sustainable replacement ideas for x, y, and z… why not just put them all in one place for you (but you can still contact me)?
And keep checking back to this list of sustainable product reviews!
10 Sustainable Swaps for 2024
2. Don’t waste money on paper towels (wrapped in non-reusable, non-recyclable plastic) with kitchen towels and cloth napkins. Keep a bin under the kitchen sink for all kitchen linens. Napkins are a great secondhand or hand-me-down find. Otherwise, look for linen napkins (look on Etsy) – available in solids of many colors and patterns! For dish towels, anything without polyester is great. Target sells these OEKO-TEX 100% cotton kitchen towels.
3. If there’s one thing I’m most happy we ditched, it’s plastic wrap. I’ve never liked managing its moody nature, but I also hated the waste. Check out beeswax wrap, Stasher bags, bowl covers, and any sealable containers to slowly start weaning off of it. I’d recommend starting to use these items before you run out of plastic wrap as it does require some time to get used to.
4. Plastic water bottles are the sustainable swap of the year as far as I’m concerned. As an avid water drinker (I’m too hydrated at times 😉), I get the need for water and the need for good water. If you have a good source of water, then you need to find the right water bottle for you. I love my big Klean Kanteen, but it doesn’t fit in a purse. There are SO many options out there. Whatever you pick, just use it ALL THE TIME to make sure you’re getting the use out of the product. This collapsible water bottle is great for travel!
If you don’t have good tasting water where you live/work/play, invest (even just a little) in a filter that actually works. Our refrigerator filters out the metals in our house water (yay 1925 architecture). If you use a fridge filter, remember to replace the filters as needed (every 6-8 months for us).
5. Why are you adding an additional piece of plastic wrapping to your trash? Skip plastic trash bags and use compostable trash bags that will begin to break down in weeks, not decades! These bags are great whether or not you participate in organic waste or composting programs. Compost pail bags are also available. Use code LUCI for 15% off orders over $45 (same brand as the baggies, so stock up)!
Learn about compostable bag use.
6. When it comes to washing, opt for laundry detergent that isn’t full of chemicals. They can irritate skin, be harsh on clothes, and it washes back into the water supply. Opt for clean, plant-based laundry soap instead.
We love the ECOS brand detergent. Available in liquid detergent or sheets. The brand sells directly on Amazon, is available via Walmart (skip sponsored at top of page), and is found at many retailers big and small!
Remember washing in cold water, air drying clothes, and using dryer balls in the dryer are also money-saving, sustainable goals!
All those sustainable swaps add up!!
7. This one is personal, but when the time comes for new underwear, limit the plastic-based materials, the harsh chemicals, and the pollution. Aim for organic cotton undies and fair trade factories.
Women – Pact, WAMA, & Bombas all offer undies, but my favorite brand is SUBSET (formerly Knickey). Be sure to do the size quiz as they run a bit big.
And be sure to wash all lingerie delicately, including men’s and kids’ underwear.
8. Of all the things that come into our home, plastic produce bags are the most frustrating to me. I have little (no, really) use for those bags. And in order to recycle plastic bags properly, it adds another to do to my life. That’s why I LOVE reusable produce bags – a small space sustainable swap!
They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For produce, I prefer mesh of some sort so I can see what’s inside and to let the produce breath a bit if I don’t have time to take it out of the bag when I get home.
You can often reuse them without washing, but if they get some food on them, just throw them in with your kitchen towels and they’re good to go again. We do air dry our bags since they’re somewhat delicate, but I don’t know that it’s required!
9. I’m particular about my toilet paper, so for me to have a sustainable swap for this, it better be worth it, right? Enter Who Gives A Crap? toilet paper. The brand offers toilet paper made of bamboo or recycled paper (don’t worry, it’s recycled office paper).
You can read my full sustainable toilet paper review here, but just know that I love it and we’re never going back!
10. Did you know traditional candles are actually quite toxic? Paraffin wax is a petroleum-based product and can release phthalates, carcinogens, and neurotoxins into the air (even when they aren’t lit). Synthetic fragrances (what gives them the scent you love) aren’t regulated in the US and are one of the world’s top allergens?
So what’s a candle lover to do? First, if you just want the scent, try a stovetop air freshener. You can change the natural items you use throughout the year and adjust as you like.
Candles aren’t completely gone either if you love the light effect (and I do!). Soy and coconut wax candles are an improvement (though not perfect), but I prefer beeswax candles.
Beeswax candles burn cleanly and barely drip. They’re a clean burning candle. I usually opt for unscented, but there are clean scents of wild or organic essential oils are used to make the candles. They’re available in all shapes and sizes from Etsy and often at local stores and farmers markets!
Ingredients should be listed on candles/websites. If they aren’t, don’t buy them!
Small Home Living Tips
Want some organization tips for small home living? Check out these posts of kitchen appliance organization, how to store reusable bags, seasonal clothing storage, and small home office ideas, including mail and paperwork organization!
You’ll also want to read how we’re making our home more sustainable; my go to clean home cleaning products; a spring cleaning room-by-room checklist that you can practice year round; and how to declutter your mailbox!
Keep an eye on this constantly updated list of sustainable product reviews for every aspect of life!
If you want to start smaller, start with these sustainable bathroom product swaps and best practices!